Loads of people have written tributes to Rob Smith. Just google his name, or "Acidman" or "Gutrumbles" and you'll see what I mean.
I had a couple of additional thoughts:
Rob was an absolute catalyst for friendship. Many, many people have become friends directly or indirectly through Rob and Gutrumbles. For example, ask anyone who's ever gone to a Jawja blogmeet, and they'll tell you that a good part of the reason (if not the main reason) they went in the first place was to meet Rob. What invariably happened as a result, though, was gaining a plethora of other new friends -- talented writers and singers, yarn-spinners, artists, jokesters and more. People have made and maintained friendships through his comments, as well. Then there are the old friends -- Catfish and Recondo, who were nearly as dear to Rob as his own family. In the main, the man had exceedingly good taste in friends. (I should know, I've met some phenomenal people through or because of Rob.)
Rob will always remain in the pantheon of the big dawgs in blogdom.
He inspired many, many people to start their own blogs. He inspired even more to comment on Gutrumbles. Whether he made 'em laugh, pissed 'em off, brought a tear to their eye or really made 'em think, he inspired hundreds of people to put fingers to keyboards and write.
A link in Gutrumbles -- called an "Acid Bath" or "Acid-lanche" could spike your hits off the charts for at least a week. Get on his blogroll, and it changed your traffic forever. From what I knew, Rob never put anyone on his blogroll he didn't read. He didn't have to agree with you. He just had to like and/or respect your writing. One of the happiest days of my blogging life was when the Omnibus made its first appearance on his blogroll. I will be forever grateful for the people he steered my way by that one small act. Because of that, I've made it my own personal policy to only link people to my blogroll if I like/respect their writing. If you've got a place there, you've earned it. I learned that from the best.
What else did I learn from Old Crankypants?
I learned to measure twice and cut once with my words. I learned that I'd better take a deep breath and think hard about what I was about to say before hitting the "post" button in someone else's comments. You can update, edit or delete posts from your own blog, but you can't take them back when you've posted to somebody else's comments.
I learned -- the hard way -- to not only stay out of it, but to become Switzerland when I don't have a dog in that fight. The same terriers who are snapping at each other today may be wagging their tails and enthusiastically sniffing each others' behinds tomorrow. In fact, that's a likely outcome. You may end up on the wrong side of both of them if you wade in where you're not needed or wanted.
I learned that a real man and a real lady apologize sincerely when they're wrong -- in person, if the wrong was committed in person and in writing, if the wrong was committed in writing. And that you can ask forgiveness, but can't expect forget-ness.
I learned that it's really a bad idea to post about your place of employment, even when you're saying good things, unless the employer knows about it and approves in advance.
I learned that I value being respected over being liked. And that some people like you more if you demand their respect right from the get-go.
I learned how not to ignore the elephant in the middle of the room.
I learned that it's uncool to try to control the directions of someone's blog and other peoples' thinking by hijacking comments. I learned how to say, "You don't like it? Good. Now get your own damned blog."
I learned that some conversations are better taken offline. Email, snail mail and the telephone are sometimes far better conduits to conversation and understanding than hanging your dirty laundry out in public for all to comment on. Who needs the heavy-duty spin cycle when you're hand washing delicates? Not I.
I learned "Why don't you go live your own life?" meant he was thinking about what I had to say, even though he didn't want to admit it; "Fuck you," meant exactly that. Yep. I heard both from him.
I learned that it was fun to document an entire vacation by taking pictures of my pedicure against exotic backgrounds, just to make someone else grin.
I learned that life is better when you grab it by the balls and live it, because you never know when it's going to grab you back. And sooner or later it always does.
I've learned to value humor wherever I can find it, especially when I'm pointing it directly at myself.
I learned, and am still learning, how to find my own unique voice.
Today, my heart is in Savannah with Rob's family and friends, many of whom are now my friends.
Thanks, Rob, for everything you taught me. The lessons were invaluable.
P.S. -- I also learned that the Bubba of Bombast could be rendered speechless. I'll never forget his run-in with flouncy Brian. The rest of y'all can cry today. I'm going to savor that memory, and all the laughter that followed, instead.
P.P.S. -- It probably wasn't Rob who said this, but it sure could have been. (Sorry. It made me think of him and, again, it made me laugh.